Blackboard Announces New Alexa Skill

Education technology company Blackboard has announced a new skill for Alexa called Blackboard Learn. Using the voice assistant, users will be able to ask Alexa for information from Blackboard Learn, the company’s flagship Learning Management System. Students will be able to ask Alexa for information regarding:

  • What homework they have to do
  • When a certain project is due
  • Course announcements
  • Grades
  • Messages
Blackboard Alexa Skill
Blackboard Alexa Skill

To activate the skill, users must attend a school that uses either Blackboard Learn Original or Learn Ultra. From there, the users have to link their Amazon accounts to their Blackboard accounts. Kathy Vieira, Blackboard’s Chief Strategy, Portfolio & Marketing Officer at Blackboard said in a recent press release,

“Today’s students want—and expect—to stay connected to their educational experience whether they’re at home, on the go, or in the classroom…We’re committed to helping learners seamlessly integrate their studies into their everyday lives and our collaboration with Amazon Alexa is another way that we are helping to enhance this experience for learners everywhere.”

Voice Assistants and Child Education

Blackboard’s new Alexa skill is not the first smart home skill to focus on children’s education. Earlier this summer, the children’s media brand Highlights partnered with Bamboo Learning, a software company that makes educational apps, to release a storytelling Alexa skill called Highlights Storybooks From Bamboo. Through the skill, kids can be read 12 different stories and asked follow-up questions after, which Alexa can evaluate and give feedback.

Similarly, Google has partnered with Disney to have the Google Assistant read along with select Golden Books. This skill is meant to be used with parents reading the books out loud to their children, providing background music and sound effects and pausing with the parent. Currently, the skill is available for books like Moana, Coco, and Alice in Wonderland. Along with the read-along skill, Google Home also has Disney-branded activities for children, although some of them are less educational than others.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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